Career Edge Blog

Samosas and Jamaican Patties: Celebrating the holidays at a multicultural workplace

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Today, everyone here at Career Edge Organization took some time out of our daily busyness to celebrate the holidays which, as they approach, may instill feelings of anxiety (for those of us who haven’t started gift shopping), restlessness, (for those of us going on vacation), or joy (for employees who relish the holiday spirit). This is the perfect time for a celebration!

What’s great about living and working in a multi-faceted country like Canada is that many of us work in diverse, multicultural environments where the traditional North American “Christmas Party” has evolved into something much better.

For example, today’s “Multicultural Potluck” to celebrate the holidays at my workplace was a far departure from the typical turkey-and-stuffing meal that has come to be associated North American celebrations. Today we were spoiled with Samosas, Thai noodles, Latkes and other exotic dishes with roots in South American, Caribbean and Asian cultures in addition to all the staples of traditional Christmas potlucks (we have lots of leftovers if you’re hungry).

We also shared some laughs during a fun holiday-themed team-building exercise. The holidays are a perfect time for these kinds of activities. Things like “Secret Santa” or exchanging gifts anonymously help people get to know each other better and boost employee morale. I highly recommend it!

We are always looking for new, unique ideas on how to celebrate the holidays. We’d love to hear from you and find out how your workplace celebrates this time of year. Is there an evening party? A catered lunch? A day off?

Canadian organizations have seen a lot of ups and downs in the past year and we should all give ourselves a pat on the back. We should appreciate that we are working in an economy where many people are unemployed.

It doesn’t matter what your cultural background is. We all can celebrate the passing of 2009 and the opportunities that lie ahead in 2010!

A message from our friend, David Pecaut

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Earlier this week, all of us here at Career Edge Organization received an email from our President and CEO, J. Anne Lamont. She wrote to share a message from David Pecaut which has since been blogged about, tweeted and featured in the Toronto Star, which called it a “love letter to Toronto.”

Anne Lamont said of Pecaut:

“David was one of the founders of Career Edge Organization in 1996 and has been a member of the Career Edge Organization Board of Directors since inception. Through his vision and support, David was instrumental in the launch of Career Bridge in 2003, an initiative that came out of the Toronto City Summit Alliance Report “Enough Talk” released in April 2003 following the Toronto City Summit in 2002 and the creation of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council focused on improving access to employment for skilled immigrants. David has been the Chair of the Toronto City Summit Alliance for the past seven years.

Based on the successful model of Career Edge internships, Career Bridge internships provide internationally qualified professionals with important Canadian work experience to launch their careers in Canada. To date, over 1100 Career Bridge interns have participated in the program”

David’s Letter begins:

 

Friends and Colleagues,

As many of you know, I have been battling cancer over the past while and have been focusing in recent weeks on spending time with my family.  I am truly lucky to be blessed with an incredible wife and children.

As a consequence of my health issues, I have not had the chance to see many of you and express my appreciation for all the work we have done together.  Nor have I had the chance to share some of my thoughts on Toronto’s future.  This note gives me the opportunity to do both.

Working with you on all manner of city building activities has been one of the greatest highlights of my life.

The full letter can be read online here.

What Motivates the Next Generation of Leaders?

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Today Career Edge Organization participated in the 2009 CACEE Regional conference, delivering a workshop on Generation Y for employers and career educators.

Ever since we launched our national Gen Y survey in September, our Vice President Donna Smith and our Director, Marketing and Communications, Janice Rudkowski, have been busy taking the groundbreaking study on the road, delivering presentations to employers at conferences, recruiting forums and even directly to our Host Organizations at their own offices.

Interested in hearing about our Gen Y study? Use our comment feature to request information and/or share your thoughts!

This afternoon, Donna and Janice spoke to a full room about What Motivates the Next Generation of Leaders – information that every employer should now.

Host Employers CIBC sponsored the workshop, which reviewed trends from the research as well as insights established by us and the Angus Reid Strategies research team. Participants were given examples of tangible responses and actions for employers who recruit Gen Y graduates.

We’re confident that attendees walked away with a better understanding of what today’s grads and future Millennials aspire to, career-wise to really get the best of what this group has to offer.

Also in attendance were Career Edge Organization friends TalentEgg, who also delivered a workshop on Gen Y. Lauren Friese, the Gen Y brain behind TalentEgg, spoke about what top students are looking for in a career and gave tips on how employers can better target their campus recruitment campaigns.

The great thing about conferences like these (aside from the insights and knowledge!) is that you never know who you’re going to run into! For a long time now we have been trying to figure out who in TD Bank was behind what we think is a brilliant initiative, “The Hunt: A five part series on finding a job.” Sure enough, a TD representative who played an instrumental role on the project was actually in attendance and Janice had the opportunity to speak to her.

“The Hunt” is an incredible resource for grads seeking work that uniquely takes an interactive approach that provides insights from four different perspectives: Students, Employers, Career Centres, and Experts.

Overall, it was a great event and we look forward to continuing to work with our friends at CACEE in the future!

About CACEE

The Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) is a national non-profit partnership of employer recruiters and career services professionals. Our mission is to provide authoritative information, advice, professional development opportunities and other services to employers, career services professionals, and students.

Recognizing the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

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We all know when Boxing Day is – it’s on our calendars and it’s ingrained in our culture. However you may not be aware that December 3rd is officially the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Promoted by the United Nations, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an annual international observance that began in 1992. Every year focuses on a different topic relating to disability such as “Arts, Culture and Independent Living” in 1992 or “E-Accessibility” in 2006. This year’s theme is “Making the MDGs Inclusive: Empowerment of persons with disabilities and their communities around the world,” to ensure that internationally agreed upon development goals are inclusive and take into account the rights of persons with disabilities.

In Canada, nearly half (49.5%) of working age adults with disabilities are either unemployed or not in the labour force. (Click here for more stats on disability in Canada)

Career Edge Organization celebrates diversity in abilities every day by creating paid internship opportunities for recent graduates with disabilities with our host employers, and our Ability Edge program is continuing to grow and gain momentum.

How did your organization recognize this day? We want to hear from you! Share your stories with us and we will post them on our blog!

Here are a few interesting articles about how this very important day is being commemorated in different parts of the world:

Geneva: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-12/03/content_12578389.htm

Mysore, India: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysore/International-Disability-Day-observed/articleshow/5297438.cms

Sri Lanka: http://www.colombopage.com/archive_091/Dec1259853822CH.html

New York” “Stevie Wonder has hot debut as UN peace envo” http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gz6eEVmGX6X7ZT4XJY2LjPPTDsigD9CC1SG80

Ghana: http://www.ghananewsagency.org/s_social/r_10033/

Australia: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/6500-youth-with-disability-in-aged-care-20091203-k74a.html

Canadian corporations are seeing green

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Recently one of the members of our LinkedIn group for employers and partner organizations began a discussion about the top “emerging careers,” particularly for recent graduates of Arts programs. One of the respondents raised the topic of “green jobs” and the timing couldn’t be better.

This year, the Toronto City Summit Alliance (chaired by David Pecaut, one of the founders of Career Edge) created the “Greening Canada Fund,” a voluntary carbon offset fund to help Canadian corporations reduce emissions. It is the first of its kind aimed entirely at large Canadian corporations.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the Greening Canada Fund would be launching with $13 million dollars. Career Edge Organization host employers TD Bank and Bank of Montreal are their first investors (Click here to read the full press release). The Fund aims to reach $50 million.

One of the many positive impacts of this Fund is the inevitable creation of green jobs.

This news comes shortly after the recent “Brick Works Forum” held by not-for-profit Evergreen in partnership with the federal government that gathered 100 business leaders to talk about the emerging Green Economy. Many of the participants, representing forward-thinking, innovative leaders in Canada, were also our host employers, such as GE Canada.

For many recent grads and Millennial job-seekers, companies that have gone green are attractive places to work. This group may currently face high unemployment rates but they still represent the leaders of tomorrow. It seems that going green may not only be the ethical and sustainable thing to do, it is also good for employment branding.

I stumbled upon GoodWork the other day, who call themselves “Canada’s green job site.” Employers looking to attract green talent can post here free.

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